Thames Valley Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner fully support the use of Restorative Justice (RJ).
RJ is a communication process which brings together victims of crime and the offender responsible for the crime. It offers victims an opportunity to have their say; to ask questions of the offender and explain the real impact of the crime.
Offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and make amends. It can play a part in repairing harm and can provide victims with a means of closure to enable them to move on with their life.
Government research demonstrates that RJ provides an 85 per cent victim satisfaction rate and a 14 per cent reduction in the frequency of re-offending.
How RJ works
There are a number of possibilities for restorative processes which include;
- Contact or indirect contact between victim and offender via a facilitator or others
- The “shuttle process” - where the facilitator goes back and forth between the parties
- The exchange of written correspondence directly between victim and offender
- RJ “conferences” -where a facilitator brings together a victim and offender and together they talk through the offence and its impact
- Direct reparation or indirect reparation may then be agreed between the participants as part of a conference agreement
A face-to-face meeting between the victim and offender takes place following the preparation of both parties, both of which have given their full and informed consent to participate.
The process will take place at the pace determined by the participants and may include meetings with other key figures, including family, friends and supporters.
The process is about building understanding and confidence, with a face-to-face meeting and an agreement on some form of reparation being the end of a journey.
Thames Valley Restorative Justice Service (TVRJS)
TVRJS work with all parts of the Criminal Justice System providing RJ services across the Thames Valley.
Thames Valley Partnership is responsible for TVRJS and has over 15 years’ experience of championing and delivering RJ services in the region.
Victim-Initiated Restorative Justice
TVRJS has been commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner to provide a Victim Initiated Restorative Justice service across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire. It is also working towards implementing Pre-Sentence RJ across the Thames Valley.
Victim-Initiated means the victim has the opportunity to request RJ themselves, during any stage of the criminal justice process.Victims of crimes which have had a personal impact on them will be able to take part whatever the level of seriousness of the crime. How the case will progress will depend on whether the offender is caught and convicted and at what stage the victim makes the request.
If you are considering RJ you can contact TVRJSwho will help guide you through what the process entails, what you might expect from it and whether you think it might be beneficial to you.
You can find out more information on the RJ process, refer yourself or make a referral by looking on the TVRJS website (opens new window) or on the contact details below:
Tel: 01844 202001
Other restorative approaches used by TVP
The principles and style of RJ may be employed in resolving other conflict. In these circumstances this is known as a Restorative Approach.
Similar restorative approaches may be used by carers, teachers or local authority anti-social behaviour officers to address unacceptable behaviour in a care home, educational setting or in the community.
Thames Valley Police use restorative approaches when delivering our cautions or conditional cautions to both adults and young people.
The Professional Standards Department (PSD) uses restorative approaches to deal with both complaints against police and internal grievances. Our neighbourhood officers are also trained to use restorative approaches to help them deal proportionately with neighbour disputes, minor crimes, community issues, and many other incidents they come across on a daily basis.
Whilst not RJ, Youth Restorative Disposals (YRDs) and Adult Restorative Disposals (ARDs) are delivered using restorative approaches. These disposals - for low-level crime - were introduced to deal with offenders without necessarily bringing them into the Criminal Justice system and allow the victim to say what they would like to come out of the incident.